Fifth Grade Winter - Aspen Country Day School

Ski touring: First Hut trip

WHERE: Shrine Mountain Inn, a backcountry hut operated by the Tenth Mountain Trail Association. We will cross-country ski approximately 2.5 miles from the trailhead at the top of Vail Pass to the hut. 

WHAT: Students will have the opportunity to learn basic telemark skiing, snow science, and winter outdoor skills. This is the first in a series of winter hut trips that continues in Sixth and Seventh Grades.

The school has skis, boots, poles, climbing skins and backpacks to outfit the entire class. Students practice with their equipment on campus and on local ski mountains several times before departing on the expedition.

On the first morning, we depart the trailhead to ski in as a group, traversing forested meadows to the Shrine Mountain Inn, a complex of small, cozy huts. After orienting ourselves to the hut and covering some basic backcountry skills (melting snow for drinking water, chopping firewood), we prepare dinner and settle in for the evening. At least one night, we will go out for a night ski, and we also spend some daytime hours outside to learn about snow science, practice our telemark turns, and enjoy lunch outside. We all work together to prepare dinners and breakfasts. On the last morning, we wake up early to pack up before heading back to the trailhead.

Winter hut trips offer children a memorable outdoor experience along with deep practice in expedition behavior. This is the first of a series of three winter hut trips, and by the time they complete their Seventh Grade expedition, students have gained ski touring skills to use for a lifetime.

Inside the Shrine Mountain Inn hut



Complete instructions, packing lists, and staffing details arrive via ParentSquare shortly before each trip. At least one certified Wilderness First Responder accompanies every expedition. NOLS Risk Services of the National Outdoor Leadership School has recently completed a comprehensive analysis of policies and procedures for the Outdoor Education program at Aspen Country Day School. This program operates under special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, White River National Forest.